Tag Archives: rick

Behind the Bar Series: Rick

Rick Leiti of Cape May Point has only been on the Hawk Haven staff for two years but his interest in wine runs deep.

Leiti is originally from Delaware County, Pa., and spent a lot of his twenties working in an office. Eager for a change in scenery, he took some time off to work in Peru.

“That was where I really discovered wine,” he said.

Leiti eventually returned to the Philadelphia area to be close to friends and family. At the time he returned to the area there was a burgeoning wine scene.

“I wanted to be a part of what people were growing and learning about the industry,” he said.

He went to Auburn Road Winery, where he started working part-time in the tasting room. As he gained experience there, his interest in the wine industry grew, and Leiti decided he wanted to invest more time at the vineyard.

Eventually he increased to full-time, working in the vineyard, as a liaison between their wine retail locations, in the wine cellar, and managing the tasting room on weekends.

When Leiti met Seneca Reiley, they moved to Cape May County to start their life together (and will soon be married in Costa Rica, April 2017!).

Leiti asked the advice of the owners of Auburn Winery where they thought he should pursue he wine career locally. They pointed him in the direction of Hawk Haven Vineyard.

“The first thing that I really connected with was their amazing wine,” said Leiti. “The next thing was the vibe there. Todd and Kenna are working tirelessly to create amazing wine and surround themselves with a staff that is as passionate about their vision as they are.”

At Hawk Haven, in addition to working in the tasting room, retail outlets and working in the vineyard, he also does the winery tours.

“I love interacting with the public and educating them about all the amazing wine that is made here,” he said.

Leiti said that on the top of his list of dreams is to one day own his own winery. But for now, he is enjoying learning all he can and helping make great wine at Hawk Haven. He recently received a certificate from Wine & Spirit Education Trust and noted that there is always something new to learn.

“For the better part of my twenties, I spent so much time not knowing what I wanted to do. Then I found my passion is wine and it gave my life a direction,” he said.

When he isn’t working, Leiti enjoys relaxing with his favorite Hawk Haven bottle, Quill. 

Cheers Rick!

Win with Wine this Superbowl Sunday!

Ladies and Gentlemen, put down the Coors/Bud/Miller Lite. Your sacred day of watching the greatest sporting event of the year should involve you treating yourself to something a little more tasteful. And by tasteful I mean food-worthy wine. You know that monster spread of dips, wings and pizza you have planned to devour all day? Pair it up!

But with what wines you say? Here’s a start…

WINGS
With either spicy buffalo or barbecue you’re gonna wanna snag a bottle of our Flying Press White. Its slight off-dryness will go along quite peacefully with the sweet tinge of bbq sauce (other bbq sauce foods work too here!). Also that ever so bit of sweetness to the wine will go most excellently with some of that heat off of the spicy buffalo sauce. After all, who doesn’t like a little sweetness with spice? Remember FPW is a blend of Riesling and Pinot Grigio…two acidic grape varietals whose acids love to freshen up some good poultry.

PIZZA
You’ve probably heard our staff call the Flying Press Red a “good pizza wine.” And it is, because it’s a great everyday red. But don’t look past our 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright red fruits on the palate that showcase big acids will pair nicely with fairly acidic tomato sauces. Firm tannins will also balance out all the fatty goodness you’ll be dealing with from that cheese, and (if you’re like me) that meat-lover’s meat.

DIPS
For creamier dips, I’d go with our 2015 Barrel Chardonnay all-the-way. Those soft vanilla nuances will complement anything rich, but the fresh mid-palate lemon and pineapple will give an added dimension of fruit to your chip-into-dip experience. Think about dill dip. I mean its just dill and fat and chip salt. Tell me that added zest of lemony nourishment wouldn’t raise the bar!

For salsa style dips, rock out with the Tempranillo. Its red pepper spice will go right along with some other peppery flavors you might encounter while its soft, approachable tannins won’t rough up the saltiness you pick up from your classic potato chip. Tempranillo is the great grape behind a Rioja in Spain and finds itself right at home with traditional Latin fare foods.

So whatever you’re eating while you watch the game (or just the commercials, we won’t judge), we hope you pair it with your favorite Hawk Haven wine! Let us know what other pairings you come up with. Cheers!